The Accomack County Board of Supervisors received a proposed budget for FY 2022-2023 Monday night. County Administrator Mike Mason proposed a budget that is 26.6% larger than the FY22 budget. The new budget includes an increase in the general operating budget of approximately $10 million. The Capital pay as you go budget increased 34.9% from $3.7 million to just over $5 million. The Capital budget to be financed, which will be used to fund the new 911 system is over $7 million. The debt service category includes an increase of $231,700 over the FY22 budget.
There are no tax rate increases included in the budget but there is predicted to be an increase due to projected added revenue from real estate assessments this year. The county anticipates $38,826,818 in real estate tax revenue. Other sources of income total $29.6 million.
Budget expenditures are 26.1% for education, $7317,480 or 8.9% for Health and Welfare, $18.8 million or 22.8% for Public Works, $18 million or 22% for Public Safety, $5.6 million or 6.8% for General Administration, $2.2 million or 2.5% for Judicial Administration, $4.1 million or 5% for debt service, non-departmental expenditures of $486,871 or .6%, Planning and Community Development, $2.7 million or 3.4% and $1.6 million or 1.9% for Parks and Recreation and Cultural expenses.
Mason told the Board that the priorities are in the following order: Priority one is to increase the full time employment in select departments to meet the current workload demands and desired service levels. Priority two is to maintain the County’s investment in its buildings, equipment and infrastructure and start to address the lack of suitable office space prevalent in many County buildings. Priority 3 is to maintain or improve employee and customer safety. Priority 4 is to honor contractual commitments, agreements and mandates. Priority 5 is to resume material deposits to the Rainy Day Fund in an effort to bring its balance to a best practice level by FY 2026. Priority 6 is to prepare for the impact of planned minimum wage increases on the County’s pay bands and address the cost of competing for and retaining I.T., first responders and other critical positions within the organization for which the existing pay structure is inadequate. Priority 7 is to provide a financing plan for additional EMS staffing in Saxis, Melfa and Tangier stations.
The budget leaves both real estate tax rates and property tax rates at their prior year level. The budget also increases funding for the school division 9.2% over last years level which will be sufficient to cover the local match for a 5% teacher salary raise.
Funding from $5 million in balance surpluses from the prior year will include $2.5 million for the construction of a new school administration facility which will include a larger public meeting space for both the school system and the county.